Celebrating Juneteeth - What it is and What does it mean

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date on which enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally received the news they were free. This was two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, one year after the Senate passed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, on April 18, 1864, and six months after it was passed by the House on January 31, 1865.

Why is recognizing Juneteenth especially important now?

The history of Black experiences in the U.S. is “justice delayed” and, all too often, “justice denied.” This is not a Black problem. It is an American problem. Consider the events of the last few years, including a global pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black and Brown communities, a righteous reckoning over policing and its relationship to anti-Black violence, and the toppling and removal of anti-Black monuments from public spaces. These turbulent times serve as a resounding affirmation that the work for equity and inclusions remain as urgent now as it ever has been.

Six Juneteenth Events taking place in Seattle area


Africatown Juneteenth Celebration 2022  ADD TO A LIST
Singer/songwriter/producer Eric Bellinger—who has worked with the likes of Usher, Trey Songz, and Justin Bieber—and local favorite Parisalexa will headline Africatown’s major Juneteenth festival on Sunday, which will also feature African drumming, a “360 photo booth,” and a kids’ area. Beforehand, there will also be a Second Line-style parade  ADD TO A LIST from Madison to Massachusetts on 23rd Ave, featuring dance and drill teams, skate groups, and more.
(Jimi Hendrix Park, Central District, free)

Black Stax  ADD TO A LIST
Black Stax are a performance group with the mission “to honor the legacy of Black Arts & Culture by ‘stacking’ all forms of Black music & art.” The trio is known for an eclectic sound that blends jazz and ’70s soul as well as their captivating live shows.
(12th Avenue Arts, Capitol Hill, $24)

Juneteenth “The Songs of Black Folk: The Music of Resistance & Hope” 
Mark Juneteenth with a free concert that celebrates African American spirituals and their evolution into contemporary genres like gospel, jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. Performances will include vocal powerhouses Robin Henderson, Felecia Curry, Zhane’ Perez, and Martha Nash, led by conductors Dr. Steven Newby and Ramon Braxton Bryant.
(McCaw Hall, Uptown, free)

Juneteenth Celebration: Skate to Freedom Party & Community Day 
Bust a move at this family-friendly party with complimentary skate rental. If life on wheels isn’t your thing, don’t fret—you’ll find all-ages activities, Black-owned vendors and food trucks, music, and more at this Juneteenth celebration, part of the Northwest African American Museum’s Juneteenth Week 2022
(Northwest African American Museum, Central District, free)

REVIVAL: Juneteenth Pop-up Market 
Pop over to the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict for a celebration of Black businesses. This afternoon market includes music by KEXP’s DJ Riz, Black retailers like God Body Soaps and Undefined Clothing, and community resource-sharing. Hungry? There’ll be plenty of food vendors on site, too, dishing up delicious treats like Caribbean-inspired ice pops and gluten-free, vegan baked goods.
(Midtown Plaza, Capitol Hill, free)

South Hudson Music Project Presents: Juneteenth with The Elnah Jordan Experience
Gifted vocalist Elnah Jordan, who has shared the stage with legends like Gil Scott-Heron and Bobby Blue Bland, will celebrate Juneteenth with a lively evening of jazz.
(The Royal Room, Columbia City, Free)



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